Vitamin B9 is a solvent vitamin that aids in cell division and helps generate new cells by copying and synthesizing DNA; it also improves the body’s utilization of vitamin B12 and certain amino acids.
A lack of folate can lead to tiredness, painful mouth sores, and an increased chance of birth abnormalities such as heart issues, spina bifida, and anencephaly. Most vitamins, supplements, and fortified foods contain folate in its natural form (folate acid). Many clinicians suggest folic acid throughout pregnancy to ensure folate demands are met, and problems are avoided.
Many nations across the globe have tight rules requiring food producers to fortify specific goods with folic acid to prevent severe birth abnormalities caused by folate deficiency. For example, in the United States, folic acid fortification of cereal grains was approved entirely in 1996 and fully implemented barely two years later, in 1998. Today, there are rules in 53 countries worldwide requiring wheat flour fortification to minimize the risk of birth abnormalities.
Folate has also been related to improved cognitive performance and prevention of depression and Alzheimer’s disease. It may also assist in lessening the likelihood of birth abnormalities. Support strong bones, alleviate restless leg syndrome symptoms and enhance nervous system health.
Health Advantages –
- Encourages a Healthy Pregnancy
Because of its role in DNA synthesis and critical enzymatic processes, folate is an essential component of the pregnant diet. During pregnancy, your folic acid levels should be higher to aid in the growth and development of the fetus. Many medicines, in fact, Health professionals even advocate starting with supplements or ingesting extra folic acid before pregnancy to help avoid birth abnormalities. One of the most well-known advantages of folate is its ability to lower the risk of neural tube abnormalities, damaging the brain, spine, or spinal cord. On the other hand, meeting your folate requirements can reduce your risk of anemia, premature labor, and pregnancy problems.
- It has the potential to lower the risk of cancer.
According to new research, folic acid may help prevent some forms of cancer—folate levels or boost them. In certain groups, consuming folate through diet and supplements may lower the incidence of pancreatic cancer and breast cancer. Other research has connected folic acid consumption to a decreased risk of colon, oesophageal, and ovarian cancer. Higher chance of developing some malignancies More study is needed to completely understand folic acid and folate’s involvement in cancer prevention and development.
- Promotes heart health
An estimated 92 individuals are affected by heart disease. It kills about one million Americans each year and accounts for nearly one-third of all fatalities globally. Fortunately, research indicates that folic acid supports heart health and may help lower the risk of heart disease. Higher folate levels are associated with decreased homocysteine levels, a kind of amino acid that leads to blood clots and causes arteries to constrict and stiffen. Increasing your folate consumption can help reduce homocysteine levels, which can help avoid heart disease. Consumption has been associated with a 12% reduction in the risk of developing coronary heart disease.
- Strengthen Your Bones
Elevated homocysteine levels are not only associated with an increased risk of heart disease, but they can also have an impact on bone health. Folic acid has been proven in studies to lower homocysteine levels and impact the rate of bone metabolism, therefore encouraging better bone health. In a 2014 study, higher plasma homocysteine levels were linked to lower homocysteine levels, folate levels, and bone mineral density.
- Improves cognitive performance
Low folate levels and low levels of other B vitamins, including vitamin B12, have been related to cognitive decline and dementia.
Folic acid supplementation improved cognitive performance in older individuals, according to 2016 research. Mild cognitive impairment might be effectively improved. Restless leg syndrome symptoms are reduced.
Restless leg syndrome is a disorder marked by a strong need to move one’s legs, particularly during the night. While anybody can get restless legs syndrome, pregnant women are more prone to get it.
Research has linked folic acid deficiency to restless legs syndrome, especially during pregnancy.
Way too much Folic acid can be detrimental to your health if you consume either little or too much of it. Folic acid anemia, weakness, headache, and tiredness are all signs of deficiency. On the other hand, the folic acid build-up can be hazardous, causing symptoms such as cramping, diarrhea, and disorientation.
Symptoms of deficiency –
Folate deficiency is uncommon on its own. Folate insufficiency is frequently observed alongside other nutritional deficiencies since it is typically caused by factors such as poor food, drunkenness, or difficulties with vitamin absorption.
The primary clinical indication of low amounts of folic acid and vitamin B12 is anemia caused by folic acid deficiency, often known as “megaloblastic anemia.” Megaloblastic anemia leads to the production of large and abnormal red blood cells, with symptoms such as:
- Pale skin
- Premature hair greying
- Stunted growth
- Shortness of breath
- Heart palpitations
- Difficulty concentrating
- Weight loss
Women of reproductive age, those addicted to alcohol, and those with malabsorption disorders are at a higher risk of folate insufficiency. Folic acid insufficiency is also a concern among the elderly, particularly those with a poor diet or a lack of appetite.
Traditional therapy for folate insufficiency typically entails raising folate levels by dietary modifications and, occasionally, taking a whole food folate supplement, so you don’t have to worry about overdoing it and receiving too much folate from your diet. However, it is essential to adhere to the appropriate amount when using folic acid supplements to avoid unpleasant side effects such as cramps, diarrhea, disorientation, and skin rashes. Other adverse effects include epilepsy, changes in sexual drive, sleep problems, and mood swings. The maximum daily dose of folic acid in fortified meals and supplements is 1,000 micrograms.
According to research, the enzyme required to convert folic acid to a form is exceedingly slow, leading unmetabolized folic acid to degrade. Although additional study is needed, excessive supplement consumption may be associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer and colorectal cancers. Another danger of excessive folic acid intake is that it can mask a vitamin B12 deficiency that can be harmful to health if left untreated. Long-term vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to anemia, fatigue, nerve damage, and even neurological changes. In addition to providing folic acid, these nutrient-dense foods are also rich in other vitamins and minerals your body needs. However, suppose you cannot meet your folate needs through food or have an interfering medical condition with absorption. You may require supplements of folic acid in that case or eat more fortified foods containing high levels of folic acid to maintain your health.
Side Effects and Risks –
Folate is essential for nearly every area of health. As a result, if you believe you may have a deficit, consult your doctor and have blood tests performed. Supplemental folic acid is required in some situations for both men and women due to absorption issues or higher nutritional demands.
Make sure not to utilize a dietary supplement or eat fortified meals to satisfy your needs. To minimize probable folic acid adverse effects, overuse it. Consuming excessive quantities might cause cramping, epilepsy, mood changes, and sleeplessness. It can also hide a vitamin B12 deficiency, which can lead to other health concerns if left untreated over an extended period. The liver and kidney are manufactured. Folic acid may reduce cancer risk, enhance cognitive function, strengthen bones, improve heart health, improve pregnancy outcomes, and relieve symptoms of restless legs syndrome.
Deficiency can cause anemia, growth retardation, cardiac issues, and birth abnormalities. Excessive folic acid consumption from fortified foods or supplements can potentially have severe health consequences.
In the above post we looked at the vitamin b9 chemical name, functions of vitamin b9, and vitamin b9 function.